It seems as though I can’t escape them. Tick-lists. No, no I don’t mean a list of my favourite biting insects but something almost as irritating as those blood-sucking varmints.
I’ve previously blogged about my struggle to complete the round of Munro’s. Part of my reason for this was because rock climbing took over from walking as my activity of choice, particularly when bagging Munros required ever longer and more involved trips.
Now I have a new tick-list that I think I am becoming enslaved to, and this is one of my own creation. Earlier this year, saddo that I am, I ploughed through a dozen SMC climbing guides and put together a list of all of the top rated multi-pitch rock climbs in Scotland. 333 routes from Moderate to E8 6C. I put it on the UK Climbing web site so that others could share in the fun.
I know that I’ll never get close to completing this one. There are routes that I am not a good enough climber to even think about doing. Some are very hard to get to. Some are “esoteric” – i.e wet, vegetated and obscure. Some are just too difficult!
However, there are many routes on the UKC tick-list that are do-able for me, and have sparked my imagination.
Climbing is a very personal thing, and with so many styles and types – trad, sport, indoor, winter, bouldering – each can all be further sub-categorised – indoor top-roping, leading, 5+ or 7C, onsighting, seconding, red-pointing etc etc. Everyone who climbs does so for different reasons – leading harder; on-sighting, new routing, exploring remote regions, big mountain routes, having fun even! However, I would guess that anyone who takes their climbing even vaguely seriously eventually becomes more focused on one or two particular aspects – no-one is ever going to become a master of all styles.
I’ve done a fair amount of indoor climbing but lately it’s just not doing it for me. Indoor bouldering always hurts, so I’ve shied away from that. I’ve never really done outside bouldering. Winter is hit and miss – either superb or utterly miserable. Local trad cragging involves pushing the grades to get the most out of it, and I have a fear of breaking limbs! Outdoor sport is either very hard (UK style) or very far away (European style) – I’ve climbed in Spain and really enjoyed it but it’s not the sort of activity that you can do every week (unless you move there!)
But I really enjoy easy mountain multi-pitch routes. There are several routes that have been on my “really want to climb them” list for years – Agags Groove; Cioch Nose and Ardverikie Wall – and I have done them all now. They all have that special something. A feeling of remoteness. Something adventurous despite their relative easiness. Great rock and brilliant situations
Yesterday I “ticked” another 3 star route in the Cairngorms – Final Selection. It was only a Diff (therefore easy climbing) but it was hard to get to. There was the long abseil into a wet gully for starters, with that feeling of trepidation that you were entering a situation that you could only climb out of. It had that fantastic remote feeling – the route being on the southern flanks of Cairngorm, overlooking Loch Avon and the amazing Shelter Stone crag. You were away from the crowds. Added to all of the above, there was the lovely rock and a brilliant belay ledge. This route ticked all of the boxes.
So, what is next? Another trip to the Cairngorms beckons soon I reckon. So many to choose from. Squareface; Afterthought Arete; Auld Nick; or Savage Slit. Or maybe Ben Nevis and the ridges – Tower, Obervatory, North East Buttress, Ledge Route. Or East Buttress on Beinn Eighe. Or. or.or. With 326 to go for me I have so many choices!